I went to the Nationals' game vs. the Cubs Monday night with John, Kenny, and Ed. I love baseball. There is something about the perfect symmetry of the field, the green grass, the relaxed pace that suddenly gets broken by a hit or a run...the ballpark has always been one of my favorite places to watch, eat, drink, and hang with friends.
But baseball is also hard for me these days. I used to umpire high school ball in Texas; it was a real joy and passion in my life. As a single guy, I worked games 5-6 days a week and loved it. My best friends were guys I worked with. Some of my favorite memories are umping tournament games at the Rangers Little League park, then going out for dinner and beers with my buddies. I remember working a no-hitter thrown by a guy that later got drafted. I once worked a ten-year-old AAU national championship game--what a celebration!
Since moving to VA and becoming a husband and father, baseball has taken a backseat. I haven't umped a game in five years; and I really miss it. I can't drive by a high school field without feeling a deep sense of loss and longing. And if there's actually a game going on when I drive by--forget it; I'm depressed for a few hours.
Now, I wouldn't change anything--my wife and kids give me more joy than I've ever known. But I still miss baseball. I hope that in a few years, when we're past the baby stage, I'll be able to get back into it. I look forward to taking Brady to his first major league game, and teaching him the intricacies of the game. Baseball is a lot like life--full of beauty, sometimes slow and relaxed, sometimes full of confusion and surprise and heartbreak. Some games you can't wait for the end; others you wish would go on forever.
As I sat and watched the other night, I felt so content; happy to be with my friends, feeling a cool summer breeze, seeing some good baseball action, and thinking of my family waiting at home for me--one of those "life is good" moments.